Trade organisations including the Association of Residential Letting Agents have welcomed today’s publication of the report of the Regulation of Property Agents, which heralds the biggest shake up in the industry in many years.
RoPA’s 54 page report is densely packed with analysis of the industry. You can see a comprehensive summary of its key recommendations here.
Already this morning a joint statement from ARLA and the National Association of Estate Agents - both of which had representatives on the Regulation of Property Agents working party - says: "This is a significant moment for those in the property industry and a huge leap forward in stamping out bad practice.
“We have long called for government intervention to ensure everyone in the industry is licensed, adheres to a strict code of practice and holds at least a Level 3 qualification (A-level).
“Following the extensive considerations by the working group, it is now for government to create the structures for a properly regulated industry, whose professional knowledge and skills are trusted and respected by all.
“These are substantial changes which will require agents to start making preparations now to ensure that they are well placed for when these proposed qualification requirements are introduced.
“While we anticipate that the need for property qualifications will be phased in, we advise agents to get ahead of the competition and to stand out by adopting the new requirements early. Propertymark can support you and your organisation both with getting qualified and preparing for regulation.”
And Isobel Thomson, chief executive of safeagent, says in a separate statement this morning: “safeagent provided input to the RoPA working group supporting plans for minimum qualifications for agents in England. We are pleased that there is recognition that any new regulator should consider supporting qualifications and training providers to use e-learning which safeagent has championed as the accessible and cost effective route for agents to obtain professional development.
“We also welcome the focus on the need for effective enforcement which has always been the missing link when it comes to delivering what new regulation promises. We note that the report recommends that the short let sector is not encompassed in the scope of any new regulator but we believe that there should be a focus on this area of activity as consumers are vulnerable and potentially at risk if it sits outside regulation.”
The National Landlords Association also backs the recommendations, and notes that there are provisions in the report that suggest that, once properly established and functioning, the new regulator’s scope should be extended to cover self-managing private landlords, and possibly tenancy deposit and client money schemes in the future.
Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NLA and member of the ROPA working party, says: “Landlords are as much consumers of property agents’ services as tenants, so we’re pleased to have represented their views in the Working Group, and to have made an effective contribution to this report, which represents a broad consensus across all parties involved in the sector.
“We hope that the proposals outlined in the report will drive forward the professionalisation of the private rented sector, making it a better place for those who live and work in it. We were particularly pleased that the report went beyond simply looking at activities and placed a new emphasis on the importance of ethics and behaviour.”